Southern India day 4 – Pondicherry

8 Oct 2017.

After a sprawling breakfast, today was the day of the Science Fair! We were excited to head over and find out what all the boys of the nearby Catholic school had done for their projects.

In contrast to most European and American educational systems, children in many (I can’t say all, lacking experience) Asian countries are taught recitation and memorisation. So it was really cute to hear tag-team reports, often among the younger classes. As you walked along the presentation, each child would pick up where the last left off, continuing their presentation.

I don’t know if the girls they’d convinced to sit for their displays were their sisters or girls from neighboring schools. We found out that the girls and boys filing through the exhibits in uniformed groups were from other schools.

As ever, many children (and teachers) wanted to take selfies with us, especially while trying to convince us to vote for their entry. 😀

(these 2 photos courtesy Dr. Abbie Vandivere)

The day became hotter while we were there in the open, and soon we were sweltering under the colorful shade tents. It was definitely time to move on and find lunch!

We ate at a French cafe with the most delicious sourdough baguettes. It was hot in the shade, and another table had placed themselves in front of the only fan, so after lunch, Derek and Abbie returned to the hotel for a cool-down and rest. Abbie’s massage was also scheduled very soon.

Matt and I went shopping! Directly across the street from the cafe was a sweet little design shop from Delhi, a collaborative effort by young designers. They used printed and embroidered patterns in really fresh ways, so I bought a dress and Matt bought a couple of breezy shirts. He’s feeling more equipped for the heat now!

Then it was time for my massage, back at the hotel. The masseuse was the mother of our lovely young hostess, and she was very matter-of-fact. The massage, which was for relaxation, was brisk and not very deep, but effective.

After a break, the group got back together for a wander through town, past an excitingly busy park, where many children were playing. We found the BEST temple, too.

I’m afraid I have to apologize. I found that the “dramatic tone” camera setting is amazingly suited to India. It makes the brightly colored gods and demons and other figures pop, and highlights the ancient carved stone, with its textures, in ways that other settings haven’t. I’m a little addicted. I may be overusing it. So pretty.

and normal:

Some shopping later, we stopped at a south Indian restaurant recommended by our hostess. It was very busy with Indians, and the food was delicious. One thing I really need to improve is my skill at ripping bread one-handed. I’m fine with eating with my fingers, but chewy and crumbly breads are very difficult using only one’s rights hand. Derek and Abbie are better at it than I am, and I didn’t see Matt, since he was next to me versus across. I imagine we’ll get plenty of practice!

After dinner, we walked to a posh European place recommended for its cocktail bar, to finish the evening in style.